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From time to time during the past ten years or more, the question of reform of the Legislative s Council| has cropped up m one form or another at every I general election; indeed, for more than that period the subject has been ventilated, and there is a universal consensus of opinion that amendments of the constitution of the Upper Ohainber are highly desirable. Not only this, but proposals for reform have several times taken concrete -• shape, ■ Having been announced m Speeches from jbhe Throne, and formulated m Bills presented to one or other branch of the Legislature. But every one of these proposals has failed of acceptance, either on the ground that the changes asked for have been too many or too sweeping, or that the time has been inopportune for their consideration; and all such schemes are, we feel persuaded, doomed to fail, unless two conditions are observed—namely, first, that the proposed measure be initiated m the Council itself, and, second, that the proposed reform be limited to one, or at most two propositions. The change which is most desirable is that instead of Councillor^, their seats for life they should be nominated for a fixed term ,' that term .should not, m our opinion,, exceed seven years ; councillors vacating their seats by cffluxion of time to be, however, elegible for re-nomination. As things are at present there are 1 m the Upper Chamber a number of gentlemen who, by reason of extreme age and infirmity, are obviously past useful work, : and yet they stick to their seats, and will doubtless continue to do so, until death releases them. How very noticeable this fact has become is shown by ; a circumstance which happened a day or two ago, the story, whereof is i now going the rounds m Wellington. Two members of the..Representative Chamber were passing the swing-doors which lead to the peaceful regions of the Lords, when two little fellows, employed aa messenger boys, came r dashing through, the one remarking to the other " Golly, what alotof cripples there are up there!" The M.H.R.'s laughed, of course, and the laugh has been shared by lots of people* since, but there is quite enough truth m the youngster's shrewd remark to point the moral of a necessary amendment of the Constitution. We are glad to see, therefore, that the matter has been taken up by Sir G. Whitmore, who has introduced a Bill containing two provisions! The first of these limits the tenure of office of all members hereafter appointed to ten years, and the other proposes to give to the Council the right of electing its own Speaker. We have our doubts as to whether the Council will affirm the second^ proposition, but there is, we think, good reason'to hope that it will agree to the first, and if so, we hope that the;osher Chamber . will: accept it as & very desirable and' valuable instalment of reform. !

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Bibliographic details

THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2467, 15 July 1890

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THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2467, 15 July 1890